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Between NC and VA

Eugene, Oregon
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Between NC and VA

We're visiting friends in Raleigh, and friends in Newport News/Chesapeake. What fun things are between the two places - we like historic sites, old mansions, natural beauty, really anything. This will be next April and we hope there will be some fabulous gardens in bloom.

Also posting this on the VA forum.

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1. Re: Between NC and VA

Not much between the two except tobacco and soybean farms! LOL.

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for Raleigh
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2. Re: Between NC and VA

I am guessing by mansions, you mean, plantations. Most of the plantations are in SC and VA. North Carolina was primarily small farmers,historically, not much of a plantation farmed state. Okay, history lesson over. There is Tryon Palace in New Bern, which is not a mansion, but the first capitol of the State. It has beautiful gardens.

It is two/three hours from Raleigh to the coast and then you kinda have to drive a fairly convoluted route to go along the coast to Chesapeake. There are some beautiful little coastal towns, New Bern Little Washington, etc. and it is fun to drive through them, stay at a B&B, eat a nice meal or two, etc. Are you planning on doing this in one day? Do you have some time? The drive alone, along this route, could take most of the day.

Give us more info and we can help you more.

Eugene, Oregon
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3. Re: Between NC and VA

Thank you, good start. We plan on taking a whole week to include the two visits with friends (wedding in Chesapeake). We've in the past visited Charleston and Savannah so I guess I was thinking there would be the same types of plantations (yeah, that was the word I couldn't think of)...but what you've suggested is great.

Is there enough time to spend a day or two in the Outer Banks? I know people usually rent houses for a week or more but are there any hotels/motels on the water for a little break (we know April will be off-season).

Raleigh, NC
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4. Re: Between NC and VA

I think you could develop a very nice itinerary by taking #64 to Tarboro with its Town Green and nice downtown, then turn N. on 258 through Scotland Neck, the largest twn in NC without a stoplight, then to Woodlands, an old Quaker community with several nice houses, then to Murphreesboro and on to Franklin, Va home of Union-Camp Paper and many fine homes along the main drag. Much to see but not much worth getting out of the car for. The trick is to go through the towns and stay off the by-passes, esp. in Franklin and Tarboro.

Finally, in Norfolk, you will want to hit the waterfront and possibly the Ghent neighborhood before you arrive at the brige tunnel. This is a four hour drive you could easily stretch to 6-7.

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5. Re: Between NC and VA

We were amazed by Tarbor too, Jeem. Many years ago it was our first experience with so many lovely true mansions. Thanks too for the other ideas we can add to our list.

Warmwinds, if I understand you correctly, you're covered by friends for NN and Chesapeake and Raleigh? And asking for things in between? Let me throw out a few ideas. This will be for NC and I'll finish up those in VA on the VA forum.

We have enjoyed drives to see historic towns in a few states. I still recall our days when we were new to the south and amazed by the lovely homes, the amazing gardens (April is good for that), the architecture, town layouts and appreciation for history. Here are things we've done....in brief...and links to info that we found helpful to us. Let me know if you'd like me to expound on anything.

I don't know what size map you have of the area...get thee to a AAA if necessary, but you'll also need to blow up the area between Raleigh and NN/Chesapeake. I'm doing the slash between NN and Chesapeake but they are two different areas, very close looking at them from CA:)

So we're on the same page, mapquest the route if you haven't already and then zoom in just one click. That should give you an overview of what I'm talking about. Then, zoom in one more time to find the places I'm talking about. (I like to open a couple of map windows when I'm plotting.)

I'll give you a couple of routes to choose from and you can take it from there.

You're probably coming into Raleigh Durham Airport? If that's the case, it is bordered on the NE by Rt. 540, the SE by Rt. 40, hugging that area. You'll see the sign for Rt. 540. Right under that is a gray area....that's the airport. (You may have to zoom in another time or two to see the airport properly.)

Beside that gray area is a green area. That's a place you might want to stretch your legs. That's Umstead State Park, www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/wium/main.php What a wonderful respite those thousands of acres are...and so close to major cities. Click on 'maps and directions' and you'll see you can access the park from Rt. 40 or Rt. 70 and hike where bison and elk and Native Americans lived on trails dedicated to walkers. You might see in the forests some deer, duck and other animals. You can rent a canoe or rowboat for $5/first hr. and $3/ each add'l. hour.

You will notice another park over an inch north of 540 on the mapquest map.

That's Falls Lake State Park. Since you'll have a car, the charge is $5/day....if there's a senior citizen paying, the rate is just $3/day. Now that I think of it, this is charged only on weekends and holidays in April when you're coming. (Although they're open weekdays too.) Daily rates don't start till Memorial Day. If you take Rt. 50, right in the middle of it, you'll hit the park office/info center. You can swim, hike, etc. Look here www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fala/main.php . Click on maps and directions for pdf maps. Click on Activities and then click on the individual activities for more info. The beach is supposed to close in the fall and reopen April 1, 2009.

Before leaving the general Raleigh area, there are a few large homes/plantations that you might like to look at. Not all are open for touring. This is a handy site with pictures I've used: www.cappresinc.org/gallery.php…

While we have enjoyed exploring the historic areas of Henderson (west of Durham) and Oxford (north of Falls Lake Park), you might start to head east toward Wake Forest, which is a historic college town. Go here and click way down at the bottom on the map: wakeforestnc.gov/residents/planningzoning_hi… It's a nice town to poke around and get a bite.

You can also - or instead of - go east after Umstead, picking up your marked mapquest route . Zoom in on the map one more time and you'll see Knightdale north of your route along 264, east of 540, and south of 64. This is a great spot too for the historic. Another old town, it has a history of plantations. We have had fun using this in our drives around: http://www.mindspring.com/~baumbach/hinton/history.htm.

Continue east on 264, crossing 95 to Alt. 264 into Wilson. You'll have a lot of historic properties to explore there. They are organized with a walking tour which helps when one is just passing through. wilsonnc.org/departments/…

And here's the walking tour of the historic downtown which incorporates a few different styles and about properties from the 1800s: http://www.wilson-nc.com/WalkingTour.cfm There are several historic districts, actually, incorporating countless homes and many many blocks. You can get that info at that same site at "Landmarks and Districts".

Continue east on 264 and shortly go north on 258 to the next big road you see up that way...64. You can explore a wonderful little town called Tarboro. (Allow me to paste something I wrote on this here some time ago) It's really a beautiful little town, sort of the idyllic old Southern town. The historic mansions are lovely. there's a 45 block nationally recognized Historic District. There's even an enormous Town Commons...15 acres. The Town Commons has it's own fame. It is supposedly one of only two (the other is in Boston) federally chartered town commons in America. It is lovely.

Tarboro was actually the first place we came to really have an appreciation of Revival homes with columns and a second floor smaller porch over an enormous first floor ones. Those lovely Southern gems. There is a Historic District National Trail you can follow. Check it out here: http://www.tarboro-nc.com/About.aspx

And more pictures here: www.historictarboro.com/visittarboro.htm

From there you could continue east on 64 to....the Outer Banks.

Along the way you might stop at one of those plantations, Somerset Place. www.nchistoricsites.org/somerset/somerset.htm

While in the Outer Banks you will of course enjoy the ocean for nature...and also The Nature Conservancy's Nags Head Woods Ecological Area. Unique habitats, forested dunes like it used to be before development they say, marshes, ponds, over 100 species of birds. nature.org/wherewework/…art5618.html

Follow the road north...Don't get back on the same way you came because there are two ways in and out of OBX. When you're ready to leave, go north to Rt. 158 back to the mainland.

At some point coming or going you might like to explore Edenton, Hertford and Elizabeth City, particularly if you are into river waterways, harbors.

Edenton, NC is called "The South's Prettiest Small Town". It was incorporated in the early 1700s. In the early 1700s it was also the colonial capital of NC. Understandably there's lots of history there and a nice historic district. http://www.edenton.com/ Even b&bs there are mansions. http://www.edenton.com/history/barker.htm and others along the north shore of Albemarle Sound.

Hertford is up the road from Edenton. It's a lovely river town dating to early 1600s. http://www.hertford.com/

Elizabeth was founded in the late 1700s. Beautiful tours and scenery. http://www.elizcity.com/

Once on the mainland after the Outer Banks you'll be heading north on 158 toward 168. Very soon after getting on that road you'll see The Cotton Gin on your right. We enjoy stopping there after the beach as something to look forward to after a nice time. Their slogan is that they celebrate the Outer Banks coastal heritage with a blend of country and coastal living. You might have seen their catalogue. Cute garden items, quaint furnishings, clothing, beachy items. http://cottongin.com/

After that look at the map and you'll see if you go up a little further where 158 veers west...you keep on 168 at that point and you'll come to the ferry for Knott's Island. That's a quiet, quaint little island with ...at least one vineyard. You can google that one. Very nice little place...peaceful.

I hope I've copied our info correctly. You did say you had a couple of weeks in NC? Just joking:)

Eugene, Oregon
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6. Re: Between NC and VA

Wow, I haven't checked this board in a while and I want to THANK YOU for the great, detailed suggestions. Maybe we will make it a longer trip :)

7. Re: Between NC and VA

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